Australia in England 2012 July 2, 2012

More pain before gain for Cummins


Back-to-back Ashes series in 2013 may arrive too soon for Pat Cummins' young body to cope with. Australia's coach Mickey Arthur has forecast another two years of injuries and brief international appearances for Cummins until the 19-year-old's body matures to deal with the demands of fast bowling.

Cummins returned to international duty against Ireland for the first time since his Test debut last November, but suffered a side strain against England at Lord's and is now on his way home to recover. His performances so far when fit have been enough to suggest that Cummins will be a fast bowler of the highest quality, but Arthur said Cricket Australia and the game's followers would have to be patient in waiting for his body to be up to the rigours of the task.

"We forget he's only 19, he's still growing," Arthur said. "It's disappointing him coming back and then picking up another injury but we're just going to have to live with that for another couple of years until he gets stronger and his body is used to the workloads. We've just got to keep giving him the opportunities because he's going to be very, very good. I definitely see him playing all three forms."

Australia has deemed Cummins so important to the national side's future that the team performance manager Pat Howard has drawn up a three-year plan for his management and development from his teenage beginnings into adulthood. Arthur said the plan included selective exposure to conditions around the world, from this year's brief England visit to the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka later in the year and potentially the Test tour of India in 2013.

"We've just got to find out what works for him and expose him to conditions around the world," Arthur said. "We've got an important tour here next year so it's really important he has a look at English conditions. Hopefully he'll be ready for the World T20, we can expose him to bowling in the subcontinent a little bit and we know he's proficient in our conditions. But we've got to live with the fact he is going to break down, he is 19."

The example of Brett Lee is relevant to Cummins' case. Lee made his first class debut while still a teenager in the 1994-95 season but a series of injuries and adjustments to his bowling action meant he was a far more hardened bowler by the time he earned his first Test cap against India in 1999. Lee has previously stated that young bowlers have to experience pain and injury over time to understand their limits, rather than being nursed through by medical and fitness staff.

"Most importantly, you don't want guys at 17 or 18; the first time they feel a niggle, they go to the physio and say 'my calf's hurting me' and they have three weeks off," Lee said last year. "They don't know where the line is."

Arthur said Australia's management of fast bowlers was becoming more individualised all the time, highlighting the individual player plans brought in under Howard from the New Zealand rugby team.

"I don't think there's a blanket rule, everyone's different," Arthur said. "A lot of guys bowl better by bowling all year round but you've still got to monitor their workloads. Sometimes when guys rest and then spark then that's when they go into a major danger area so it's a conundrum and I think everybody is different.

"That's why we've got these individual player plans for our guys now, we're trying to work out what's best for every guy to make sure they're ready to perform."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on July 5, 2012, 12:12 GMT

    @hyclass - didn't Gibbs say that about Lyon? I'll have a look later.

  • Christopher on July 5, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    @Meety...I wonder how WA's Coulter-Nile feels.Even when then WA coach,Arthur,was pushing Marsh and Cummins in his bid to make the Australian Coaching position his,there was no mention of Coulter-Nile,who was busy bowling the house down.The record seems to indicate Arthur's acumen is lack but his PR skills aren't.

  • Christopher on July 5, 2012, 10:59 GMT an article on this site on Cummins,titled,'Cummins should work on his variety-Gibbs-24-9-11,I blogged that I I believe he has a mixed action that will make him prone to injury.There are vast differences between the physiques of these players.Hadlee was all about rhythm and perfect mechanics and few have had smoother or more exact actions-recollect his arm coming over the umpires hat at delivery point.Dev's story is fascinating and involves long and arduous early morning physical training with significant stretching,strengthening and fitness components with his coach when younger,that fully prepared his body for the rigours that were to follow.Cummins is far too young and has bowled far too few overs to have been injured as often as he has.It does not auger well for his longevity.The most comparable,McDermott,was taken on the '85 tour simply because there was no-one else.That Ashes attack had Lawson,Thompson,Holland,Gilbert and O'Donnell.The rest were on the SA Rebel Tour.

  • John on July 4, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    @Vinay Bhonslay on (July 03 2012, 11:45 AM GMT) Vivid imagination there. If you want the truth then look up our record and you'll see that it's by and large 2 series at home in the English summer and then 2 series away in the English winter. We don't have all round good weather to play cricket in the winter (this year we don't get much the weather in the summer either). We were thrashed in UAE and humiliated is the right word. As for drawing 1-1 in SL , it wasn't good but 1-1 isn't a humiliation is it? Also quite amusing that you say "SA is a much better allround team capable of winning anywhere" because 1 - It suggests they play many away series (maybe look at their home/away played ratio) and 2 - Capable isn't the same as doing it Please publish - nothing offensive or untrue

  • Andrew on July 4, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    @hyclass - I was considering for a while there that maybe his action needs remidial work, however I thought about the likes of Kapil Dev & Richard Hadlee, who had long careers with side on actions & think hopefully it is an age issue!

  • Christopher on July 4, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    As a footnote,Cummins has bowled 1971 balls at 1st class level or above,including List A and 20/20 formats.That's equivalent to 328 and a half overs.Divide that by his 3 injuries since the Shield Final and we get an injury every 109 and a half overs or little more than two and a half Tests built on an average of 20 overs an innings.Those numbers encourage the view that there is a fundamental flaw,either in the action itself,the age of the participant,the physio and training programmes or all three.One hopes in future that when such compelling evidence is so freely available,that those tasked with its enactment do so with greater intelligence and regard for the participants well being.

  • Christopher on July 4, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    @rosbif...well observed.@RJHB...only the capacity to observe everything as it is, motivates the road to solution.Each fast bowlers case should be observed with a view to their own specific cause and effect. There isnt time or space available to review the last decade of fast bowling to establish whether there is in fact any comparison to be answered.When the only information available tells us that a 17 tear old kid with a high stress action and only three 4 day games to his name who has just recovered from a serious injury, is then being asked to play a 5 day game,is it too much to expect that further injury by either re-straining or protecting the original one,is at least highly probable? After a second injury and further lay off,regardless of the durations of the match,would it then be judicious to allow time to elapse and evidence to accumulate of durability to encourage a more appropriate moment to include him.His injuries were entirely foreseeable & oppose available information.

  • Geoffrey on July 4, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    @RJHB- Harold Larwood? But then he prepared for cricket by pulling a small coal train up and down a mine for 12 hours a day. Bowling fast was an easy task for someone as strong as him.

  • Rohanj on July 4, 2012, 2:32 GMT

    Pity, but how many kids succeed playing a man's game?! @Aussasinator, good thing you're well known for having your tongue firmly in your cheek with your bizarre comments, cos thats up there with your dumbest! Can anyone name just ONE fast bowler who hasn't had any injuries, at all, especially early in their career? Of course Cummins will be back but it could be another 5 years before he's consistently terrorising weak India and a by then over the hill England! At 24 he'll still have a long career

  • Dummy4 on July 3, 2012, 22:22 GMT

    Talented lad but what's the use if he breaks down after every series. Missed the whole series against India and now breaks down after just 1 ODI. Same is the case with Pattinson and both are still very very young. Australian Management have to look into the fitness of these guys,otherwise these talentes will go waste. Probably,they need to consult none other than Lee who's a super athlete who runs in day in,day out and is still super fit at the age of 35. RESPECT for LEE.

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